Today's lesson comes from the kiwi.
I don't know when I first encountered the kiwi. Surely it was not in my earliest childhood days since my mother was from a poor community in the iron ranges of northern Minnesota, and I am sure her kin had never even heard of a kiwi, much less would know what to do with one once they saw one.
Perhaps it was when we lived on Guam when I was of Cub Scout age. This would be a natural time for such an encounter. Or maybe it was just seeing photos in cooking magazines when I was older and an adventurous cook (so I thought).
Anyway, the approach I took when up close and personal with a kiwi was to gently peel it, and slice it in beautiful concentric circles. Lovely. But a lot of trouble, so I didn't often eat kiwi.
While in Europe this fall, I watched an Oriental man eating a kiwi at breakfast, slicing it in half, and then using a spoon to eat out the luscious fruit from its own little cup. But still, this didn't challenge my old kiwi-ian beliefs.
It was not until I saw my CPE buddy, Sarah, last week at our group meeting, eating a kiwi, sliced in half, with a spoon that I got Kiwi-Smacked -- the light came on - the old ways of approaching kiwi were sufficiently challenged. Instead of "Wow, I shoulda had a V-8, came: Wow, kiwi makes an easy snack to tote along on a busy day!"
What took me so long to question my approach to kiwi? I suspect it is that old ways of learning become second nature to us and we don't think of challenging them.
This morning, as I was eating a kiwi from its little cup, (thank you Sarah), I thought of other traditional things we "learn" from our families, clergy, television, peers --- that we just accept and never challenge.
Think of the people who hold fast and firm to the concept that the world was created in 7 days. Yet, even a reading of the Bible will show that the sun was not created until the fourth "day" so how did we track days? Why not step away from this belief to consider that perhaps the lesson is that the world was created in periods or stages? And if we do so, this eliminates the Creation vs. Evolution dichotomy and allows our ancient wisdom to shed light on our history rather than be a barrier to it.
The earth is flat, condoms cause AIDS, the check is in the mail, its okay to take million dollar bonuses when the financial security of the country is crumbling, we are fighting our current wars why?
Question, question, question.
This doesn't necessarily mean challenge or revolt --- many times we will question something and be firmer in our beliefs since our questions deepen our knowledge. Many times we will question something and need to tinker with our beliefs, open new doors for learning and understanding, and then delight in our new knowledge.
How many times do you take the same route to work or the supermarket? Try a different route -- notice your awareness is keener. Look for things in your life that have become routine -- do you always walk the dog around the same block? Do you always get up at precisely the same time? Do you always watch television on certain nights? Read the same newspapers?
Shake it up. Wear you underwear backwards. Do things different for just one moment, one day, one habit, one drive, one kiwi. And see what new awareness open for you.
Let us go forth in our days with open eyes......and questions in our minds.
or as our Jewish morning liturgy reads - Thank you God for removing the sleep from my eyes and slumber from my eyelids. This is not about sleepy sand and morning puff eyes -- but more about looking at each day with new vision.